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Orange County Blues announce departure of head coach Barry Venison

The Englishman’s exit is not entirely surprising.

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Barry Venison, OC Blues, credit Liza Rosales Liza Rosales/OC Blues FC

The Orange County Blues announced on Friday they have parted ways with head coach Barry Venison, who had been with the organization for two seasons.

Venison was officially named head coach in August after unofficially serving in that capacity for some time, previously holding the technical director title at the club.

After taking the head coach mantle officially, Venison racked up a 4-4-0 record in the USL regular season and playoffs, which included qualification for the playoffs in the dying minutes of the regular season finale and the club’s first-ever playoff victory. On that basis, his tenure was quite successful.

Of course, it’s little surprise Venison is leaving the Blues, and the reasons are two-fold. First, on the day Venison was appointed head coach, he publicly hinted he may not stay in the job beyond this season.

And beyond that, the Blues picked up a new majority owner, local businessman James Keston, during the season. There’s no dictate that owners clean house when they arrive, but it is certainly not unusual for changes to be made in the wake of an ownership change.

Venison also released a statement to The Telegraph about his departure on Friday:

"After leading the team to two record-breaking seasons, now is the right time for me to move on.

"I've thoroughly enjoyed my time at OC Blues, the players have been fantastic, as have the coaching staff especially Braeden Cloutier. Their unconditional support, exceptional work ethic and love of the game has been energising daily.

"I am reviewing my options now and I'm very excited about the next phase in my football life. I also wish the club the best of luck going forward, too."

And thus ends the tenure of the Englishman in Orange County.

So now the Blues have a coaching search on their hands, but they’ve got several months to make a hire before the start of the 2017 season. We’ll be sure to keep track of any reports and news that emerges from that search. Stay tuned.

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